How a Belgian Malinois Came to the Shelter
Posted by Admin Date April 14, 2016
In the Philippines, like in many other countries, mutts are dismissed and even despised, while pure-bred dogs are valued highly. Pure-breed dogs are called 'imported' in the Philippines even if they were born here. Pure-breed dogs are never found as strays on the streets.

Here's the story of how Tracy, a pure-breed Belgian Malinois, ended up at the shelter.

Tracy is a 13-year-old lumbering giant, heavier by far than any other dog in the shelter. She eats more than twice as much as the average shelter dog. Back in 2003, she was bought by a businessman as a gift for his brother, Orlando (name changed to protect his privacy). In her youth she regularly won medals at local dog shows.

But then her master Orlando's health deteriorated. He suffered a heart attack, as a result of which both his mobility and his finances were severely damaged. He wasn't able to take good care of his dog anymore. Belgian Malinois are large dogs, and require substantial amounts of food, water, and exercise.

Ken met Orlando, an amazingly friendly and helpful person, when seeking a location for his shelter. Orlando arranged the deal, ensured that Ken got as low a price as possible, and refused to accept a single centavo for his services, even though he was heavily in debt due to medical bills.

Orlando's health continued to deteriorate, and Ken offered multiple times to take care of Tracy, or at least take her to the vet. Orlando was reluctant to part with his dog, or perhaps too proud to let Ken foot the bill, and refused every time. He said he'd take Tracy himself as soon as his health and finances improved.

In early 2016, Orlando relented and finally agreed to let Ken take Tracy to the vet, on the condition that she was brought back the same day. On January 15, Ken went to Orlando's place on the outskirts of the city to pick up Tracy. By this time, she had become thin, weak, and unsteady on her feet.

Even in this condition, Tracy was a gorgeous and loving dog.

Ken rode next to her in the back of the truck, to keep her company on the long hot journey to the veterinary clinic in the city.

Tracy had an ear infection, and the vet's instructions were to clean her ears twice a day. This was difficult for Orlando to do, as any amount of exercise was exhausting for him and prohibited by his cardiologist. With Tracy squirming, even a healthy adult would work up a good sweat when cleaning her ears. It was clearly beyond Orlando's physical ability, since at that point his heart was only functioning at 25%.

Orlando agreed to let Ken take Tracy to the shelter for a period of two weeks, while tending to her ear infection. That evening, after the long hot trip back to Orlando's place from the clinic, Tracy made the third long hot trip of the day, back to the city, this time to the shelter.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we noticed that her stool was never fully formed, so we took her back to the vet. The vet ran a fecalysis and told us Tracy had the severest ringworm infestation he had ever seen.

Tracy's deworming took well over a month. We had to deworm her a total of 4 times. Deworming can take a toll on the body, and many dogs develop bloody stools and completely lose their appetites as the anti-helmintic medicine rips the worms from their gut. During the deworming the dog requires a lot of attention and care to ensure that it doesn't get too dehydrated or malnourished.

We spent a lot of time cleaning her apartment because she had permanent diarrhea.

She'd sometimes step in her poop, because it was all over the place. We'd wash her paws, and she never once showed any sign of irritation.

When Tracy was finally fully dewormed, her appetite improved dramatically, and she started gaining weight very quickly. After a couple of weeks we were finally ready to send Tracy back to Orlando.

We called him up, and were told that Orlando had recently been hospitalized. Tracy's return home was postponed for a couple of weeks.

Ken saw Orlando after Orlando was discharged from the hospital. By this time he was in a wheelchair. Orlando told Ken that he should keep Tracy, but Ken told him that he would return Tracy as soon as Orlando was ready.

Two weeks later, Orlando was hospitalized again.

Now out of school for the summer vacation (which in the Philippines is from March to May), Ken was able to visit Orlando in the hospital, and show him some pictures of Tracy. Ken said he hoped Orlando would visit Tracy at the shelter as soon as he was better.

But on Easter Sunday, 2016, Orlando passed away.

Ken was devastated, not only because Orlando was a good friend and a genuinely warm person, but especially because Orlando didn't get to see the much healthier and improved Tracy before he died. Ken brought Tracy to the wake that very night.

The funeral involved a Catholic Mass, so Ken wasn't able to bring Tracy to the funeral. A few days after the burial, Ken brought Tracy to Orlando's grave.

Ken was able to reunite Tracy with Orlando on April 7, 2016.

Tracy is a big aging dog with a heart of gold, just like her owner. She is always happy and friendly. She eats a huge amount, and will require ongoing veterinary care. We are grateful to our donor community for making it possible to take care of this lovable old lady.

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